On Doing Things Before You’re Ready

One of my favorite Amy Poehler quotes is, “Great people do things before they’re ready.” OK, so that’s the short version that shows up now in pull quotes and motivational posters, the whole quote is actually this: “Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. Doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that- that’s what life is. You might be really good. You might find out something about yourself that’s really special and if you’re not good, who cares? You tried something. Now you know something about yourself”

THAT is what I have clung to since starting to parent. And that’s why I am writing this post. So here is a small, sampling list of things I’m not sure I ever would have done if I still operated under the mode of not trying anything I wasn’t pretty sure I’d be good at:

2 reasons for this picture from All’s Well that Ends Well:
1. Reach for the stars!
2. “Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie…”

*Become a parent
*Become a parent AGAIN
*Planted a garden this spring
*Attempted to direct anything non-Shakespeare
*Attempted Breastfeeding (again)
*Selling crafts
*Tutoring Math
*Making friends outside of school (This can be SCARY y’all!)

And that is just a list of things that scared me or I thought I might be bad at that now make up my day to day life!! (I’m still not sure I’m very good at some of it, but I’m loving the adventure most days…) That doesn’t even include the one off things like playing on a trapeze or being willing to explore cities and countries alone.

And now, I’m trying to remember this as I start planning for the months to come. I have to start doing things before I’m ready or when these all consuming newborn days are over I’m going to have a hard time fighting the impulse to go full throttle and do ALL THE THINGS all over again in a pattern that started burning me out and driving me crazy in the first place. So I am doing things like evaluating and trying to embrace theatrical opportunities, I have walked into auditions recently where my body is screaming. “I’d rather have the extra sleep” and my mind is screaming, “you can barely remember your own name right now, there’s no way you are ready to remember this monologue. You aren’t ready for this yet.” And I have walked out with my heart screaming “YES! THANK YOU.” I am finding myself Imagining what we should put in our fall garden, even though we’re about to head into the melting heat of summer. Or thinking of simplifying to make space for something new, even though I don’t feel quite ready to let go of things staying just. as. they. are. (Not that there aren’t a few things I’d change if I were empress of the universe…)

So now I’d LOVE to hear from you-what have you done before your ready? How did it go? What are you thinking about doing but are holding back waiting for the fabled “perfect time” to get started? I hope this can be a little encouragement to take the leap and try it!


2 thoughts on “On Doing Things Before You’re Ready

  1. Love your article, Amanda! I’ve done a ton of things before I was ready and certainly before I was sure I was good at them (pretty much everything to do with career moves/choices, being a mom, moving…) Have you ever hear of the WOW vs the OWW factor? A famous performance coach talks a lot about it and I think it’s a tangential piece to what you’re talking about here (and that you might enjoy reading about it). Kudos to you for going to those auditions! Love!


    • Thanks Erin! I haven’t heard of WOW vs OWW… I’d be interested to read more if you can point me to a good source for it, it sounds really interesting.
      I love the way you have built a career for yourself in a totally different place than where you may have anticipated and that you are BLOOMING there! So proud of you!!
      And I need to hear sometime how you ended up moving! Miss you. So glad to see your comment.


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